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Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape Award winner

Black Crown Initiate
Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 28 July 2020, 12:05 AM

BLACK CROWN INITIATE is Progressive Death Metal band from Reading, Pennsylvania.  They were formed back in 2013 and this is their third full-length album. This marks also the first release with new guitarist Ethan McKenna who joined the band back in 2018. I couldn’t find information on the new drummer or is it a session drummer though, it’s a question I failed to answer with my research, nonetheless.

With this album, well they might have defined the genre and the old expression says third time’s the charm well this is genuinely the case on this album. They really perfected their sound, experimentation, and origin with this masterpiece. The Pennsylvania lads went under the radar for such a long time and they really shine on this album. You have some amazing clean vocals and impressive bass lines. They really give the listener a different perspective of what musicians can accomplish within the genre.

I really had that OPETH vibe a number of times on this album. The hauntingly beautiful music with the fine musicianship is practically a throwback to bands like OPETH. You can have the sheer aggression yet the mastery of the structure of the song. It’s knowing when you need to use the clean vocals and the harsh ones. The raw brutality mixed in with the DREAM THEATER-esque musicianship. It’s like an evolution of the genre and it might now be what you expect from the genre but they brought it to a whole never level. The album does not sound so mechanical like a lot of bands out there, it’s a breath of fresh air and they understood above anything else.

It's deep and engaging, it’s still gonna sound great in ten or twenty years from now. This is by far the best we’ve heard of BLACK CROWN INITIATE. It’s a worthwhile investment to listen to this album a dozen times and even get to know the band better with the back catalogue obviously. If you enjoy bands like RIVERS OF NIHIL, old OPETH and WILDERUN, I believe you will highly enjoy this band. If they were openers for many bands beforehand, with this album, they will be in the headliners category when all is well in the world. They bring everything to the forefront and they might have taken the reigns for the subgenre for a long time!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Invitation
2. Son of War
3. Trauma Bonds
4. Years in Frigid Light
5. Bellow
6. Death Comes in Reverse
7. Sun of War
8. Holy Silence
9. He is the Path
Nick Shaw – Bass
Andy Thomas – Guitars and Clean Vocals
Ethan McKenna – Guitars
James Dorton – Vocals
Record Label: Century Media Records


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Edited 01 April 2023

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